The 2013 NFL season was supposed to be the return to glory of Washington Redskins‘ quarterback Robert Griffin III. After recovering from his torn right ACL injury, Griffin’s much-anticipated return has been ruined by the team’s 0-2 start. A porous defense, a stifled running game, as well as Griffin’s own inefficiency has contributed to Washington’s poor start.
The Redskins opened the season with statement games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Beating the Eagles would have solidified Washington’s standing in the division that last year’s NFC East title was no fluke. Beating the Packers would have solidified Washington as an NFC Super Bowl contender along with the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. Instead, the Redskins were thoroughly thrashed in both games and left with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Now, the Redskins are hoping to defeat the Detroit Lions to earn their first win of the season, as well as gain some kind of momentum. Currently, the NFC East doesn’t feature a really dominant team. It would seem reasonable that the Redskins can put their early struggles behind them and regain some respect by defeating the Lions.
That won’t be easy. No one cares whether or not Griffin is still rusty. It’s been two games, and he needs to play better. He needs to find his receivers with accurate passes. He needs to run when the opportunity arises. In other words, he needs to be RG III, the dynamic quarterback who ran and threw with efficiency while leading Washington’s high-powered offense.
The onus isn’t just on RG III to return the Redskins to their winning ways. The defense must play better. While outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan leads Washington with three sacks in the first two games, the Redskins’ pass defense still cannot stop anyone. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 480 yards and four touchdowns while completing 80 percent of his passes against Washington. In addition, Washington has not yet earned an interception in 2013, which solidifies the team’s pass defense deficiencies.
Washington’s run defense, ranked fifth in the NFL last season, has taken a considerable nosedive. The Redskins have allowed Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy and Packers’ running back James Starks to rush for over 100 yards in consecutive weeks. This proves that the run defense can’t get the stops they need to force the opposition to punt.
Redskins’ fans shouldn’t push the panic button yet, because it’s only Week 3. There’s plenty of time for Washington to right the ship on both sides of the ball. If there isn’t any marked improvement against Detroit, though, a demoralizing 0-3 start will be imminent. It’ll be interesting to see how the Redskins respond.